Jamal is a retired NHL hockey player who grew up in Toronto, Canada. Raised in a single-parent household, Jamal and his older brother, Allan, understood firsthand the challenges of playing hockey with limited financial resources. He attributes his dedication to success and belief in himself to his mom, Doreen, and Allan, who six years his senior gave up playing hockey at age 16 so that his younger brother could play every season. Jamal credits his stepfather, Alan Crosswell, for showing him how to become the loving and supportive father he is today.

Jamal left Toronto as a 17-year old to play college hockey at Western Michigan University, where he fulfilled his promise to his parents to graduate by earning a Bachelor of Arts in business (marketing) in 1996. Jamal went on to have a successful 17-year professional hockey career, 15 of those years with five NHL teams: St. Louis, Toronto, Calgary, San Jose, and Chicago. He capped off his playing career by winning the Stanley Cup with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2013. He currently works as an analyst for NBC Sports Chicago and is the Community Liaison for the Blackhawks, helping to promote and grow the game throughout the Chicagoland.

Jamal and his wife, Natalie, have three children: daughters Langley, 14, and Harper, 11, and son, Crew, 7.